Wisconsin Archives and Libraries
Many archives and libraries have resources such as maps, gazetteers, and other aids to help locate places in Wisconsin. Many have record-finding aids, such as guides to their own collections or inventories of records housed elsewhere in the state. They may have collections of previous research, such as family and local histories and biographies.
A guide to Wisconsin archives and libraries is:
- Ryan, Carol W. Searching for Your Wisconsin Ancestors in the Wisconsin Libraries. Green Bay: C. W. Ryan, 1988. (Family History Library book 977.5 D27r 1988; film 1440401 Item 2.
Inventories of County Archives
To learn more about the history and record-keeping systems of Wisconsin counties, use the 15inventories of the county archives published about 1940 by the Historical Records Survey. They contain detailed inventories of the records that existed in county courthouses in about 1940. They also describe the contents of the records. The Family History Library has copies of the inventories for Barron, Buffalo, La Crosse, Marathon, Monroe, Rusk, and Sheboygan Counties. They are listed in the catalog under WISCONSIN, [COUNTY] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES - INVENTORIES.
The following archives, libraries, and societies have collections or services helpful to genealogical researchers.
Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706
Library Division Telephone: 608-264-6535
Library Division Fax: 608-264-6520
Archives Division Telephone: 608-264-6460
The Wisconsin Historical Society serves as the state archives, the state library, and the American history library for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Its research collections are divided between library and archives divisions. The library houses printed and microfilmed materials, while the archives maintains the original records for Wisconsin government jurisdictions. The Wisconsin Historical Society is the largest free-standing American history library in the United States. It has the second-largest collection of newspapers in the U.S., after the Library of Congress.
The Wisconsin Historical Society and the University of Wisconsin System jointly operate a network of Area Research Centers located at UW campus libraries throughout the state. Each geographic region is served by an Area Research Center (ARC), which houses the original records from that region. Centers often have probate records, tax records, school records, church records, naturalization records, and other local historical records.
Several guides have been published that describe the collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society. A helpful introductory guide is:
- Danky, James P., ed. Genealogical Research: An Introduction to the Resources of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1986. (Family History Library book 977.5 A1 no. 91.) ib
Another guide to the collections at the Wisconsin Historical Society is:
- Smith, Alice E., ed. Guide to the Manuscripts of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1944, 1957. (Family History Library book 977.5 A5w; 977.5 A5w supp. 1.) A second supplement was published in 1966 (not available at the Family History Library). These guides contain references to the papers of many families and businesses.
The Wisconsin Historical Society's website has a number of resources of use to genealogists:
- Wisconsin Genealogy Index - a statewide index of pre-1907 birth, marriage, and death records, 150,000 obituaries and biographical sketches
- Historical image collection - thousands of images from the 19th and 20th centuries
- Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865 - alphabetical and regimental lists of soldiers who served in Wisconsin units during the Civil War
- Civil War veterans' censuses - 1885, 1895, 1905
- Local history and biography articles - 16, 000 searchable newspaper articles
- County histories - 80 digitized, searchable county histories
- Wisconsin Magazine of History - digitized, from 1917 to the present
Wisconsin Area Research Centers
The Family History Library has guides to the three Wisconsin area research centers at Green Bay, River Falls, and Stevens Point. These guides are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under WISCONSIN - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES.
1. Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706-1488
Serves Sauk, Columbia, and Dane counties
2. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Eugene W. Murphy Library
1631 West Pine Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
Serves Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempeleau, and Vernon counties
3. University of Wisconsin-Platteville
The SW Wisconsin Room
Ullsvik Hall, 1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818
Serves Crawford, Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, and Richland counties
4. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Harold W. Anderson Library
800 West Main Street
Whitewater, WI 53190
Serves Jefferson, Rock, and Walworth counties
5. University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Wyllie Library/Learning Center
900 Wood Road
Kenosha, WI 53141-2000
Serves Kenosha and Racine counties
6. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
PO Box 604
2311 East Hartford Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53201
I nternet: http://www4.uwm.edu/libraries/arch
Serves Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties
7. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Forrest R. Polk Library
800 Algoma Boulevard
Oshkosh, WI 54901
Serves Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, and Winnebago counties
8. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Area Research Center (7th Floor)
2420 Nicolet Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311-7001
Telephone: 920-465-2540 1-888-729-4611
Serves Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, and Shawano counties
9. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Area Research Center
900 Reserve Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
Serves Adams, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood counties
10. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Special Collections & Archives (5022 5th floor)
William D. McIntyre Library
Eau Claire, WI 54702-5010
Serves Buffalo, Eau Claire, Chippewa, Rusk, Clark, and Taylor counties
11. University of Wisconsin-Stout
Swanson Learning Center - University Archives and Area Research Center
315 Tenth Ave.
Menomonie, WI 54751
Serves Barron, Dunn, and Pepin counties
12. University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Area Research Center
Chalmer Davee Library
120 Cascade Avenue - street address
410 South 3rd Street - maling address
River Falls, WI 54022
Serves Burnett, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix counties
13. Superior Public Library
Area Research Center
1530 Tower Avenue
Superior, WI 54880
Serves Douglas County
14. Northern Great Lake Center
Area Research Center
29270 County Highway G
Ashland, WI 54806
Serves Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Vilas, Washburn, Sawyer, Price, Oneida, and Forest Counties
National Archives Great Lakes Region (Chicago)
7358 S. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60629-5898
State Societies and Research Centers
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 5106, Madison, WI 53705-0106
Milwaukee County Historical Society
910 North Third St.
Milwaukee, WI 53203
The Milwaukee County Historical Society houses Civil War and church records, obituaries and biographical newspaper clippings, naturalization indexes, census records, court and probate records, and coroners' inquests.
Vesterheim Genealogical Center
415 West Main St.
Madison, WI 53703
This center has records of many Norwegian-Americans, including passenger lists, church records, family records, and Norwegian local and farm histories.
Wisconsin State Old Cemetery Society
c/o Robert Felber, Archivist
6100 W. Mequon Rd.
Mequon, WI 53092-1951
There are an estimated 8,500 cemeteries in Wisconsin. This society has compiled the records of about 2,000 cemeteries. They publish a newsletter in which you can place queries.